Gemini Ganesan – The King of Romance

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Index

  1. Introduction
  2. Early life
  3. Career
  4. Personal Life- Gemini Ganesan’s Wives and Gemini Ganesan’s children
  5. Legacy

 

Introduction

Gemini Ganesan known as one of the “big three” of South Indian cinema of the last century along with M.G Ramachandran and Sivaji Ganesan, was one of the famous personalities in the Tamil cinema. He was known as the King of Romance of South Indian cinema. Not only he made his mark in Tollywood but he was also seen in Bollywood movies. Let us discuss the life of Gemini Ganesan.

 

Gemini Ganesan – Early Life

Gemini Ganesan

Gemini Ganesan’s birth name was Ramasamy Ganesan and was born in the year 1919 to an inter-caste couple, Ramasamy Iyer and Gangammal. His grandfather, Narayanswami, was the principal of Maharajah’s college, Puddukottai. Narayanswami married a Brahmin girl of his own sub-caste but he later made another informal alliance with a woman named Chandramma. Ramasamy Iyer, Gemini Ganesan’s father, was the son of Narayanswami and Chandramma. Ganesan was very close to his grandfather. He lost his grandfather and father at a very young age. After the death of his father, he and his mother moved to live with his aunt Muthulakshmi in Madras.

His aunt insulted his mother and grandmother and ensured that they did not show their faces to any of their guests who visited them. Both his mother and grandmother left his aunt’s house and went back to Puddukottai but left Gemini Ganesan with his aunt so he could get a decent education from the city.

Gemini Ganesan’s aunt Muthulakshmi was a follower of Sri Ramakrishna Paramhansa and hence enrolled Ganesan in Ramakrishna Mission home. As was the culture he was taught yoga and Sanskrit along with Upanishads, Vedas and the Bhagavad Gita. He became an expert in yoga as he spent a disciplined life there. He completed his high school in Puddukottai and completed his graduation from Madras Christian College, Chennai.

 

Gemini Ganesan – Career

Gemini Ganesan

During his college days, Gemini Ganesan dreamt of becoming a doctor. He went to Trichinopoly (now Tiruchirapalli) in 1940 to see T.R.Alamelu. Alamelu’s father proposed his daughter in marriage promised Ganesan of a medical seat after graduation. Ganesan agreed and married Alamelu in June 1940. Within one month of their marriage, Alamelu lost her father and elder sister which shattered the dream of Ganesan of becoming a doctor. Since he was the only capable person to support the family, he started searching for jobs with little or no luck. He got an interview call from Indian Air Force in Delhi. Against Alamelu’s wishes, he went to Delhi where he met his uncle who suggested him to become a teacher. Finally, after many job interviews, he became a professor in the Department of Chemistry at Madras Christian College.

Miss Malini

Gemini Ganesan loved acting and received an entry to films from the casting department of Gemini Studios where he worked as a production executive in the year 1947. From there ‘Gemini’ was added to his name. His debut movie was ‘Miss Malini’ opposite Pushpavalli. The film was a populous failure but was well-received by intellects. This was followed by Chakradhari, where he played a minor role of Lord Krishna. The film was a success but his performance went unnoticed. Ganesan got his major break in the film Thai Ullam, where he played the role of a villain opposite R.S Manohar. Through this film, people took notice of his acting. He was later cast as a hero in the film Manam Pola Mangalyam opposite Savitri, his future wife. This film became a milestone in his life.

Gemini Ganesan in Kalathur Kannamma

Ganesan’s handsome looks and charming attitude got him many offers. He had carved out a particular and eccentric niche for himself in Tamil cinema with films that required a lot of romance and little action. In his 50 years of career, he played a variety of roles. From a freedom fighter to a non-assertive role he has done it all. Gemini Ganesan was starred in Kalathur Kannamma (1959) which was a debut film for Kamal Hassan. The film won a Certificate of Merit for the Third Best feature film in 1961. He has many successful films up his sleeve. He was cast in Konjum Slanghai opposite Savitri. The film became the first Tamil film to be released in Poland. Some of his other best works include Missiamma, School-Master, Kanavaney Kankanda Deivam, Meenda sorgam, Shanti Nilayam, etc. Naan Avan Illai (1974), Ganesan’s home production film, was his best performance in which he played many roles as a seducer of women. The film won high critical praise for Ganesan’s performance.

Gemini Ganesan not only was the star of Tamil cinema, but he was successful in Bollywood as well. He marked his Bollywood debut with Missiamma’s remake Miss Mary opposite Meena Kumari. The film was a big hit that year. He also played a lead role in the film Devta which was the remake of his Tamil film Kanavaney Kankanda Deivam. He also won Padma Shri in the year 1970.

Apart from acting Ganesan was a businessman and invested in real estate and property development. He was also a good sportsman and captained his college Cricket team.

 

Gemini Ganesan – Personal Life

Gemini Ganesan’s Wives

Gemini Ganesan with Savitri
Gemini Ganesan and Savitri

At the age of 19, Gemini Ganesan married Alamelu. After entering into films, he met Pushpavalli and Savitri. He was candid with his relationship with actresses Pushpavalli and Savitri and never denied their presence in his life. He was married to Alamelu and Savitri but was never married to Pushpavalli. He met Savitri on the sets of Manam Pola Mangalyam. They were in a courtship period for several years before they decided to get married. Their marriage was the news of the decade at that time. They were the most sought-after pair on screen.

Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli
Gemini Ganesan and Pushpavalli

Ganesan met Pushpavalli on the sets of Miss Malini in 1947. He was already married twice when he met her. After few cordial meetings he fell for her and they secretly got married in Tirupati.

Gemini Ganesan married Juliana Andrews in the year 1998 at the age of 78. Juliana was his fourth and last wife.

 

Gemini Ganesan’s Children

Alamelu and Gemini Ganesan have 4 daughters together, three of them Revathi, Kamala, and Jayalakshmi are doctors and Narayani is a journalist. Later Ganesan married Savitri and had two children, a daughter Vijaya Chamuneswari, who is a physiotherapist and a son Satheesh Kumar. He married Pushpavalli and had two daughters Rekha, a famous Bollywood actress, and Radha.

Despite having many wives, Alamelu was his pillar of strength until he passed away in 2005.

 

The Legacy

A documentary film on the legend – Gemini Ganesan titled Kadhal Mannan was produced by Dr. Kamala Selvaraj. It was well-received by the audience. There were many films that were made in reference to the actor. Odam Ilavarasu’s romantic comedy Gemini Ganeshanum Suruli Raajanum (2017) was also a major work of art with the actor as a philandering man and did very well.

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Bhavika is an avid reader and writer, majoring in biotechnology. She loves to write on eclectic issues, be it political or cultural.

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